The Franco-Russian Alliance, 1890-1894

By William Leonard Langer | Go to book overview

PREFACE

IN the pre-war European system the Franco-Russian Alliance played a rôle similar to that of the Austro-German Alliance of 1879. Each served as the kernel of an international group, into which other powers were drawn and around which the smaller states gravitated. Reference to their importance, then, would be quite gratuitous, and no excuse need be offered for a detailed monographic study of the circumstances attending the conclusion of either one of them. In the case of the Franco-Russian Alliance there has been no exhaustive treatment to date. At the time of its consummation it attracted a great deal of attention from political writers, for the secrecy of the terms stimulated curiosity and the anomaly involved in a combination between the democratic French Republic and the Muscovite autocracy demanded explanation. French writers in particular lost no time in reviewing the making of the agreement, which, they felt, had restored their nation to its rightful place in the European scene. The more important contemporary accounts, like those of Cyon, Hansen and Daudet, were based at least in part upon direct personal knowledge or upon confidential information. But under the circumstances they could not be other than one- sided and incomplete.

The scientific study of the great international alliance systems could hardly begin until the texts of the various agreements and the documents bearing upon the negotiations were published after the world war. The French Yellow Book of 1918 on the Franco-Russian Alliance called forth such articles and books as those of Packard, Darmstaedter and Welschinger, in which the subject was reviewed in the light of the new material. But the French collection was so incomplete that anything like an exhaustive treatment was still impossible.

Meanwhile the deluge of material from the German side began to divert the attention of scholars to the problems of German foreign policy. A number of excellent books were published on

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